"Christmas - the time to fix the computers of your loved ones" « Lord Wyrm

Prometeia Cooling System Review - in English

Redphex 03.08.2002 - 14:55 18325 0
Posts

Redphex

Legend
RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria
Avatar
Registered: Mar 2000
Location: Kadaverstern
Posts: 11795
fp.jpg
Whenever the summer sun has the temperatures rising, the common overclockers craving for lower temperatures push their way to the surface. Besides the typical and in the meantime wide-spread Peltier-with-watercooling-combinations, cooling systems that gain their performance from a compressor/evaporator combination get more and more affordable and therefore gain in popularity. The so-called "EVA" has left the limit up high, only for the Danish manufacturer Chip-Con and their "Prometeia" to try to push it just a little further and being crowned the new king of cpu-cooling - so far for their plan. In the following review we will present the Prometeia system and will show how to make the hottest cpus rim with frost.

If you're from Austria, Germany or Switzerland you might enjoy reading our German Language Version of the review.


[pagebreak]The Prometeia Cooling System[/pagebreak]
click to enlarge
Prometeia
click to enlarge
The System
click to enlarge
Drive-Cage
click to enlarge
5,25"-Slides
click to enlarge
Mainboard
click to enlarge
Ventilation
click to enlarge
Front
click to enlarge
Compressor
click to enlarge
Cooling
click to enlarge
The Radiator

The Prometeia Cooling System

The Prometeia Cooling System is different to the competitor Vapochill and on the other hand somewhat more like the aforementioned "EVA", just that there's a perfectly fitting but yet easily replaceable PC-case supplied as well. On top of the Compressor housing we find a rather standard Midi-Tower, which however contains some valuable features, like dismountable HD/FD-“cage” drawer and CD-Rom Drawer sliding system as well as a preinstalled 80mm Fan. Especially the do-it-yourself people will favour the motherboard-plate, which can be taken out of the case to install the system components. For all those, who don't like Chip-Con’s choice of a Midi-Tower, there's also good news: the Prometeia Cooling System can be separated from the tower PC-Case without much effort. Just loosen a couple of bolts and put the whole thing under your favourite case to create the combination of your “cold nights' dreams”.

In the lower case we not only find the compressor (which is powered totally independent from the computers PSU) and the condensor as well as the controlling device. The machine is vented by two 120mm Sunon fans, that are throttled after the start-up procedure of the compressor and thus do their job in a silent enough manner, not to disturb the sensitive ear; which is definitely more silent than some of Chip-Con's competitors' power-coolers do. The Danes specify the noise level during the start-up as being 42 db(A), followed by 36 db(A) when the fans are throttled. The temperature display in the front bezel of the case shows the temperature of the evaporator and is also in charge of control: up to four different values controlling the fans and the start-up procedure can be manipulated here.


As many already know: the weight of the Prometeia System is enourmous: the scale stop at 27kg without the PSU and any other PC-components installed. This makes the case a somewhat heavy partner when going to LAN-Parties. When unpacking the Prometeia, remember to dismount the green steel barren on the bottom of the case: this only helps to secure the compressor during transport and has to be removed before use.
A hose leads through a hole between the cooling unit and the case, on its end the so-called "Microfreezer" is attached, which is the actual cooling head and evaporator in the system. We are glad to mention, that Chip-Con ships the Prometeia with kits for socket-A/370/7 or alternatively socket-478 CPUs (or both) - this and the very open concept makes the system usable for both present and future CPUs. For example: for upgrading the upcoming Hammer-CPU you just have to get (by that time hopefully) a new Hammer-installation kit (if the current Socket A kit cannot be used). With some other systems you would have to throw away the cooling system as a whole.

It seemed to us that Chip-Con could have spent a bit more time on the finish of the Microfreezer: the copper-head that would go on the DIE (or the heat-spreader on the Pentium IV) was a bit rough and somewhat faded. Maybe a protecting foil made of plastic could help keep the copper-head clean during shipping.

[pagebreak]Assembling[/pagebreak]
click to enlarge
Assembling
click to enlarge
Connectors
click to enlarge
Isolation
click to enlarge
The Microfreezer
click to enlarge
Isolating the hooks...
click to enlarge
..the socket...
click to enlarge
..the cell...
click to enlarge
..done!

Assembling

Installation of the Prometeia is quite easy if you have a steady hand. It is also very safe for your beloved hardware if you follow the very good instructions that come with the unit. First a small Rear Cover is mounted on the backside of the motherboard, which is sealed with something that feels like a mixture of chewing gum and plastering. Afterwards a mounting bracket is screwed on top through the four holes close to the socket. It is very important to seal all SMD components that crosses the barrier between the “outside world” and the inside of the hermetic cell, in order to prevent “false” humid air to get sucked into the cell. When we installed the system we could not get the opening of the retaining system to match perfectly with the heat-spreader of the P4. A few millimetres of had to be left with no contact with the copper-surface of the Microfreezer. As this part is not directly over the DIE of the P4 we assume it not to have any significant influence on our test results though.

In that context, Chip-Con told us that these tolerances are unavoidable to keep the Prometeia compatible with as many types of motherboards as possible.

After sealing the upper mounting bracket we fixed the Microfreezer to the retaining system with the two spring loaded screws. The pressure can be regulated via additional spacers. We recommend AMD users to be very careful during this procedure. The concept of installation is however one of the major advantages of the Prometeia System: The material of the Microfreezer, mounting bracket and rear-cover together with the sealing material, leaves the entire CPU area as a hermetically sealed off space. Even at a prolonged period of no load, the material does not feel cold on the outside, so condensation on the outside is not a problem at all.


[pagebreak]Der Test[/pagebreak]
click to enlarge
Modded to the Core!
click to enlarge
Everything done.
click to enlarge
Pure Delta 0wnage!
click to enlarge
Evaporator Temperature
click to enlarge
got w00t?! :eek:


The Testsystem
Processor:
Intel Pentium 4 1,6A (Northwood)
Cooling:
Chip-Con Prometeia
Motherboard:
Abit TH7-II (Custom DCRGs, VCore Mod, VRimm Mod)
Memory:
2x 256MB Samsung PC800, 2x 256MB Kingston PC1066
Harddisks:
Fujitsu 40GB
Video-card:
Asus GeForce 4 Ti-4600
PSU:
Enermax 350W


First Impressions

Having installed all the cables, following the elaborate instructions in the manual, and powering up the system, the controlling unit of the Prometeia keeps holding the reset-signal to the mainboard until the compressor has reached the proper amount of pressure and the evaporator is cooled down to a preset temperature. Chip-Con has this temperature set to -33°C, we changed the setting to -40°C. Also the second temperature value is very important (set by Chip-Con to -28°C): when reaching this temperature level the control unit asserts the reset-signal to prevent CPU operation with a potentially unstable overclocked CPU.

The start-up can last for several minutes, especially if the Prometeia has not been used for some time. During the start-up process, the temperature rises at first before it starts to drop. When rebooting the system, you don't have to wait much, because the pressure of the compressor is maintained for a longer period of time.


Operating State

At a VCore of 1,7V and about 2,6GHz CPU speed, the system kept our P4 1,6A at chilly -15°C during POST, at full power they climbed up to -2°C. This is quite near to the 0°C, so we tried reinstalling the Microfreezer, fiddling with the pressure and using Arctic Silver 3 instead of the supplied Arctic Alumina. Each of these measures helped to reduce the temperature, but only about 2°C.

Pushing the limits...

Thanks to CPU, RIMM Voltage Mod and custom DCRGs the Abit TH7-II and P4 1,6A were the perfect base for pushing the Prometeia to the limits. We reached 3207MHz - though not fully stable, presumably due to the RAMs, but enough for a WCPUID screenshot - thus performing a 100% Overclock. The CPU was operated at 2,2 Volts though; that makes the CPU blast about +130 Watts into the Cooling System. Still, temperatures were merely below zero (about -2°C). Running Prime95 and SuperPI they climbed up to between +7 and +11°C. This made the Prometeia lose the battle against the point of 0°C, but keeping in mind that the CPU yielded more heat than a huge soldering iron, the results are nevertheless impressive.


Disassembling

Disassembling the Microfreezer is simple: loosen both screws and pull off the cooling head. We considered the high pulling force that is necessary for this process; it's seems not really recommendable for fragile AMD CPUs. On the other hand Chip-Con includes a special copper-spacer shim-plate with the system, to keep risks at bay. We recommend to let the Prometeia defrost completely before disassembling. To our great dismay, a plastic plate fell off the downside of the cooling head. For all further tests we just put it back in place and had no more troubles with this part.


[pagebreak]Conclusion[/pagebreak]

Conclusion

Throughout out tests the Prometeia System not only yielded incredible performance scores, but also showed that high-end cooling can be something that is easy to install and safe to use. Overclocking results that was formerly only possible during quickly conducted attempts to break records, is now available as a 24/7 stable and trouble free operation. Thanks to the concept of the hermeticly insulated cell around the CPU-area, condensation isn’t a problem even when operating at below-zero temperatures.

Nevertheless there are some room for improvements: The PC-Case on the Prometeia is without doubt not everybody’s „cup of tea“ and although it is fairly easy to replace, it might for some people seem more attractive to obtain the unit without this Case in the first place. Moreover as mentioned earlier, a better finish of the Microfreezer would be welcomed – on both the surface of the Copper cooling head and the fixing of the Plastic Cover over the insulation. Although it cannot be considered a major quality issue, and both problems with relatively small effort can be overcome, these issues should not be present at all, on a product in this price range.

With the increased performance offered by this system, any Hardcore Overclocker can’t help feeling his heart beating a bit faster too, from pure excitement. When you consider a power consumption of +130W from the small surface of a DYE, it seems almost unrealistic to even consider using conventional means of Cooling. At such excessive heat emission even the thermal bridge and interface between the CPU and the Cooler become a major source of increased Core temperatures.

All in all we can only give Prometeia our warmest recommendations – if you have the necessary „pocket change“, and you are in need of some serious High-End flexible Cooling solution, you should go for this one without any further considerations. An order directly at Chip-Con will cost you around 500€ plus VAT and shipping. It should however be noted that possibly local representation here in Austria might be available within the nearest future.

We would like to thank Chip-Con for providing us with the Prometeia, and for their excellent and rapid support. We would also like to thank KK-Computer for providing us with the Kingston PC1066 RIMMs.
Kontakt | Unser Forum | Über overclockers.at | Impressum | Datenschutz